DEAR ABBY: I am an only child who has lived at home all her life - 44 years. My father recently died, so now it is just Mom and me. She has become extremely clingy. She is jealous of my friends and feels I must be with her for almost everything. What can I do?
I think I should move out, but she will take it badly. Also, I'm concerned about her health. She's 71, diabetic, and has a heart condition. Is this a lost cause or is there hope?
- Hoping in Florida
DEAR HOPING: I agree you should move. It would have been better had you cut the umbilical cord while your father was still alive, but better late than never.
Are there relatives or friends who can look in on your mother regularly? If there are, enlist their help. She should not be allowed to become isolated and solely dependent on one person. Look into grief support groups and other programs for seniors in your community.
If your mother needs a companion and your finances allow it, hire someone to stay with her. It's time you had a life of your own. Consider it the price of freedom.
Love-triangle troublesDEAR ABBY: A few months ago, one of my best friends was dumped by his long-term boyfriend. I was shocked because everyone thought they were an ideal couple, and theirs was a relationship to model all of ours after.
A few days ago, my friend finally felt comfortable enough to confide that his ex had cheated on him with another friend of ours, which was another shock. Since then, I have been conflicted about how to act around the ex, whom I considered to be a good friend until this happened. I am tempted to lash out at him for hurting someone we care about, but I don't want to add more drama.
We all are in undergrad together, so we see each other every day. It's getting harder not to stick up for my friend at this point. How do I suppress my anger in order to be a friend to both of them, even if the ex may not deserve it?
- Angry in the South
DEAR ANGRY: A way to do that would be to remind yourself that there are usually two sides to a story. Bide your time and wait to see what happens. Whether you want to remain friends with the "cad" will become apparent with time. Remaining quiet may be the better choice, particularly if the "ideal couple" decides to reunite.
Disclose health issues?DEAR ABBY: I am a 60-year-old widow who wants to begin dating. I have some health problems, although they are neither fatal nor limit my energy. I have excellent insurance and the monetary resources for the needed treatment.
I'm concerned that these conditions might scare off any suitors. How upfront must I be about them? I don't intend to lie, but must I give an extensive medical disclosure on the first few dates?
- Wants to be Upfront
DEAR WANTS: I don't think your first conversations should include an "organ recital." However, if a relationship appears to be blossoming into something more than social, the honest thing to do would be to disclose.